President Putin is enjoying riding a new nationalistic wave - his foreign policy moves are backed by strengthening monetary and economic power based on energy and raw materials and a new found detente with China.... and massive popular support.
Putin's world sees his world -
1. Stretching as a sphere of influence to the Balkans
2. He is very concerned to quell the territorial conflicts on its own southern and south-eastern borders - to which an in dependent Muslim backed Kosovo would be seen as a precedent and encouragement to the southern republics.
Martti Ahtisaari, plans for Kosovan independence and the security duties taken over jointly by the European Union and NATO means a further expansion of the West -- an expansion that he will hinder, change, and stop at all costs.
3. Putin is deliberately following a broader strategy of confrontation because he wants Russia to regain its place in the world as a foreign policy heavyweight. The strict refusal to extradite former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi fits perfectly into Putin's strategy of showing off Russia's return to power to the West.
It is a simple matter to connect the dots from the threat of using the 'energy weapon' against Ukraine, Georgia, Byelorussia to the Russian position on Iran and Kosovo, to the sabre rattling over the unwanted US missile shield and Moscow's freezing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, to the obstruction strategy when it comes to the Litvinenko investigation.
A relapse into the "Cold War" which Putin is enjoying and where the UK are holding up the murder of "British Citizens" like Litvinenko and his radioactive and beautiful wife as a matter of major concern. We now have the comical spectacle that the thief, money, launderer and international terrorist and criminal fugitive Boris Berezovsky - another "British Citizen" appearing on our TV's as an injured party, the target of murder plots (unsurprisingly) - but defended by our Government.
Perhaps we should pay a lot of attention to what happens to the Druzbha (Friendship) pipeline from Russia to Europe as it passes through Uzhgorod (larger map here) and thereabouts this winter - after all there was a little wobble on May 7th this year when an unexplained blast occurred at 1125 GMTand destroyed a 30 meter section of a main gas trunk pipeline to Europe, near the village of Luka in the Ukraine south of Kiev.